Marlene Millard from Longview, Wash., said that back in the 1960s she had a recipe for making a delicious sour cream cake that used a boxed white cake mix as the base. She said it was one of those cravings she had during pregnancy that she thought she would never get back, so she threw away the recipe. Now she finds herself craving the cake some 50 years later and would like to be able to recreate the taste.

Perhaps back in the '60s doctoring cake mixes was something new. These days, entire books exist with nothing but doctored cake mix recipes. "The Cake Mix Doctor," by Anne Byrn, is the bible on this subject. From the basic sour cream white cake Millard was looking for to the complex double chocolate rum cake, this book is my go-to for cake mix fixes. I found the sour cream white cake recipe in her chapter on "just the basics" and it is about as plain as they come. However, this simple cake has an old fashioned comforting quality, is quick and easy to make and is infinitely adaptable. This recipe is for a 13 x 9 inch pan but it can also be used for making a bundt or layer cake or even cupcakes. While the cake was baking and cooling, I had time to make the sour cream chocolate frosting, also from Byrn's book. In less an hour and with very little fuss and muss, I had a lovely homemade cake that everyone thought was a wonderful treat.

Requests

Holly Renew from Baltimore would like some help finding the recipe, or at least a similar one, for a mushroom loaf that was served at a restaurant in Canton that closed about 10 years ago that was called The Wild Mushroom. The loaf was similar to a meatloaf in consistency and topped with a tomato sauce.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, and The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278 or email baltsunrecipefinder@gmail.com. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.

Sour Cream White Cake

Makes: 16 servings

Solid vegetable oil for greasing pan

Flour for dusting pan

1 package (18.25 ounces) plain white cake mix

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola, corn, safflower, soybean or sunflower

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place rack in center of oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 13 X 9 inch baking pan with solid vegetable shortening, then dust with flour. Shake out excess flour and set pan aside.

Place the cake mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping the sides down again as needed. The batter should look well combined and thickened. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it out with a rubber spatula. Place pan in oven.

Bake the cake until it is light brown and springs back when lightly presses with your finger, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto the rack, then invert it again onto another rack so that it is right side up. Allow cake to cool completely, 30 minutes. Frost as desired.

Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

Makes: 2 1/2 cups

4 Tablespoons butter

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup sour cream

2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

2 Tablespoons hot water

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place butter and chocolate in a small saucepan and melt over low heat, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir the mixture until chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool slightly, then stir in sour cream.

Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on low speed, add half the confectioners sugar and 1 tablespoon hot water, beating to incorporate. Then add the remaining sugar and continue beating until the frosting comes together into a spreadable consistency without lumps. Stop the machine, add the vanilla, and blend well, 30 seconds. Use at once.